Woman Found Dead After Wandering from Nursing Home

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on March 27, 2017 in Nursing Home Abuse
Updated on February 24, 2022

missing patientAn 88-year-old woman was found dead on Saturday after wandering outside of her nursing home in Rice Lake, Wisc.

The Rice Lake Police Department was first alerted to the missing woman after receiving a call at 3:35 a.m. on Saturday about her absence from Rice Lake Convalescent Center, an 85-bed nursing home.

The woman’s body was discovered by police outside a door not far from the building where alarms should have sounded. Investigators believe she had been outside for at least a few hours, according to Rice Lake police Capt. Tracy Hom.

Police have ordered an autopsy for the woman’s body and the case will be sent to the Barron County District Attorney’s office.

Employees of the nursing home indicated to police investigators that the woman had previously been seen wandering the facility’s halls in the past.

Police declined to comment on the woman’s mental condition and the reason why she was initially admitted to the nursing home out of concern for her privacy. Her name has not yet been released either.

When a nursing home fails to live up to its obligation of keeping residents safe, an experienced Milwaukee nursing home abuse lawyer may be able to help family members take legal action. 

Nursing Home Patients Who Wander Require Attentive Care

Patients are often admitted to nursing homes with conditions that inhibit their memory and judgement, such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Patients with these conditions require a higher level of care because they often wander aimlessly throughout a facility and can easily walk out of the facility if the proper precautions are not taken.

This can be dangerous to the patient as he or she could wander into an unfamiliar area filled with dangerous hazards, like a road with heavy traffic. If the resident forgets where he or she is, it can cause him or her to become confused, panicked or anxious.

Wandering is a Form of Nursing Home Neglect

Nursing homes have a duty to care for and monitor the well-being of patients left in the facility’s care. This includes preventing patients who suffer from impaired cognitive abilities from unknowingly wandering from the nursing home.

Those who are diagnosed with cognitive impairment conditions are at an extreme risk if proper precautions are not put in place to prevent wandering. The consequences can cause the patient to suffer:

  • Broken bones
  • Lacerations or cuts
  • Injuries from falls
  • Exposure to life-threatening situations
  • Accidental death

Nursing homes should take proper steps to prevent a resident with cognitive impairment from wandering away from the facility. This includes installing an alarm system to alert staff members when a resident has left the facility, ensuring windows and exits are locked, and employing and maintaining an adequately trained staff.

Accomplished Legal Help for Nursing Home Residents

Although nursing homes are required to provide the highest care and safety measures for our elderly population, many often fall short of this obligation.

When this happens and a resident is injured or killed as a result, his or her family may have options to take legal action.

At PKSD, our Milwaukee personal injury lawyers strongly advocate the rights of nursing home residents and will fight to ensure these rights are upheld against a facility that neglects or abuses its residents.

If your loved one has been injured in a nursing home that failed to provide adequate safety measures to prevent dangerous behaviors like wandering, do not hesitate to contact us for a free, no obligation consultation.

Call 877-877-2228 to schedule a free review of your claim with one of our attorneys.

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